If you take 100 car enthusiasts and put them in a room to discuss a vehicle’s merits, both its aesthetics and its performance prowess, 100 percent of the time, you would have differing opinions and thoughts. Some would love it, some would hate it, some would be “meh” about it either way. But, there are a handful of cars out there that 99.9 percent of enthusiasts would all agree upon. The BMW CSL 3.0 is one of those cars (I’m almost sure the 0.1 percent who won’t agree with this statement are right here on this site) that’s achieved legendary iconic status and is generally accepted as one of BMW’s finest cars to date. It’s essentially a racecar that’s street legal.
The final version of the homologated racecar, when equipped with the race-ready aerodynamics package, complete with a picnic table bench rear wing (the wing came in the trunk as they weren’t legal for German road use at the time), was so extreme looking for its time that it earned the nickname, ‘The Batmobile’.
BMW have just revealed a modern one-off 3.0 CSL concept, dubbed the 3.0 CSL Hommage for obvious reasons. Unveiled over the weekend at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, it’s instantly recognizable as a car that pays homage to the original CSL.
Complete with wild lines, aerodynamic add-ons that would be right at home on a time-attack car, and proportions as curvy as the late Marilyn Monroe’s perfect hourglass figure, the reboot of the CSL grabs your attention the same way seeing Marilyn prance around in a itty-bitty white dress on a windy day would. Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan. Senior Editor Yarkony had this reaction: “the twin-kidney grille is practically sacrilege, and the front of the car overall looks like it belongs on a 10 Worst Plastic Surgery Disasters list”.
BMW insists the CSL 3.0 Hommage is a one-off creation with no plans to build a production model. When speaking with Autocar, Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW Division says “The 3.0 CSL Hommage is a show car to test out some design features. We are looking into a response to the show car but for us it’s always to get the feedback on whether people think it’s really cool. It’s not an overall concept we are thinking to make.”
Regardless of whether or not the CSL concept heralds a production-ready CSL in the near future, you can be sure the existence of the concept car is a welcome one to car enthusiasts all over the world.
We don’t know too much about the CSL Hommage beyond it being a rear-wheel-drive coupe. It’s slightly bigger than a M6 and it’s powered by a (of course) 3L straight-six with an ‘e-boost’ electric motor to aid with acceleration.
The “L” in the CSL moniker stands for light (leicht in Deutsche) and the modern CSL remains true to the original. In an effort to keep things as light as possible, BMW makes use of plenty of carbon-fibre, and CF reinforced-plastic for the CSL. This new lightweight approach is a welcome one, as seen in their upcoming M4 GTS and other ‘M’ and ‘i’ cars. The original 3.0 CSL was some 200 kg lighter than the 3.0 CS on which it was based due to the use of aluminum instead of steel where possible. Today, if Orange is the New Black, carbon-fibre is the new aluminum.
Like it, hate it, or butterface it, the carbon-fibre, stripped down CSL in a sea of modern over-bloated boats is a highly visible, high-profile concept to showcase BMW’s lightweight approach and technology. We like light.